Getting Rid of Coyotes
There are numerous reasons why coyotes have become a problem in areas populated by humans. Coyotes are highly adaptable, and have moved around from their natural habitat due to several factors. One reason is the dwindling state of their natural habitat, which are plains and grasslands. As land is developed for homes or agriculture, the coyotes must find new places to live. Logging has also caused coyotes to migrate further from their natural habitat. When forests are cleared, the area becomes more conducive for a coyote to live in. Another reason why coyotes have become a problem for humans is because one of their natural predators, the grey wolf, has become virtually extinct. This allows the coyotes to roam through a larger area, including areas populated by humans.
A coyote’s main source of food is small mammals, like rabbits and mice. However, if that prey can’t be found, they will search for other, larger prey. Farmers have the most problems with coyotes because of attacks on livestock. Once a coyote makes a kill in a particular pasture, it is very hard to deter future attacks. Coyotes can jump fences, and they can dig under them. For this reason, many people will resort to trapping the coyotes so that they can prevent livestock attacks.
Caution must be used when using any kind of animal trap to prevent injury to humans, livestock, and pets. For coyote trapping, a trap set up near the carcass of an animal killed by an attack is a good place to start because the coyote will likely return to that spot. At the intersection of fences is another good location to put a coyote trap. Coyotes will avoid areas with brush or tall grass, so these areas do not make good locations for traps. Dirt-hole traps, in particular, are well suited for catching coyotes because they look like holes where animals have buried food, which will lure the coyote in to investigate. Each state has laws pertaining to the types of traps that may be used for coyotes, but most allow for a smooth or rubber jawed trap with a spread of six inches.
Trapping For Fur
In many states, it is legal to trap coyotes for their fur. Trappers have a variety of preferred methods for trapping, including regular traps and snares. Whereas the goal of trappers removing a nuisance animal is to get rid of the animal, fur trappers want to minimize damage to the coyote’s pelt to get the most money for the fur.
Hunting statutes for coyotes vary from state to state. In states where coyotes are considered nuisance animals, they are allowed to be hunted more freely than other animals, such as deer. If it is legal to hunt coyotes in your state when you are experiencing a problem with them, then you will need effective bait. Although the carcass of an animal killed by a coyote is good bait, just any dead animal found lying around will not necessarily draw a coyote in. Some coyote hunters find that bait known as a baitsicle is highly effective during winter months. To make a baitsicle, fill a five gallon bucket with meat scraps, such as from a butchered deer or even scraps from a butcher shop. Fill the bucket almost to the top and then add warm water to the top of the pail. Warm water will draw out some of the blood from the meat, which will make the bait smell better to a coyote. Freeze the bucket until it is frozen solid. Remove the baitsicle from the bucket and place it in an area where coyote tracks or scat have been seen around the pasture.
Trying to poison a coyote can be effective, but it also puts others, both human and animal, at risk. That being said, one of the most effective poisons for coyotes is a device known as a cyanide gun or an M44. The device is baited with meat to lure the coyote in. When the coyote takes the bait, a spring propels a shot of cyanide into the coyote’s mouth. When mixed with the saliva in the coyote’s mouth, poisonous cyanide gas is formed, killing the coyote. Be warned this will also kill neighbor dogs, cats and other domesticated carnivores.
There are a number of suggestions for homeowners trying to repel coyotes from their property. Human scent is thought to be a deterrent, so a bottle filled with diluted perfume or cologne can be used to spray areas along the perimeters of the property. In the same manner, a spray bottle of ammonia can also be used along perimeters because the coyote will think it is the scent of another animal and avoid it. There are several types of electronic repellents, including some that use strobe lights and sirens set up with motion detectors that will go off when a coyote comes near the property. None of these repellents are especially effective, however, as a coyote will get used to seeing, hearing, and smelling them after a period of time, and it will lose its fear.
The Urbanization Of The Coyote
If you have ever seen a coyote in a zoo, or even at a safe distance in the open, at first glance you could easily mistake it for a dog. That is because they belong to the same genus as dogs, wolves and foxes, the genus Canis. Coyotes are carnivorous hunters and are indigenous of the North American Continent. They like to live in family groups, usually parents and offspring but when they hunt, they usually hunt alone or in a pair. Hunting is done during the dusk to dawn hours but can sometimes happen during daylight hours as well.
Loss Of Natural Habitat
With open fields being developed into homeowner communities at a constant rate, coyotes first lost their territory to suburban growth. When urban development followed this trend and increased its square mileage, the suburbs were pushed out further to encroach on wildlife territory. Because coyotes are intelligent animals, they learned to adapt. Before too long, a strong survival instinct brought them into close contact with backyards, chicken coops and pets. The coyote’s natural enemy, the wolf, has long ago lost its presence in civilized surroundings, leaving the coyote population to multiply steadily. A female coyote usually has a litter of six pups but can have as many as nineteen from one litter.
Dwindling Food Sources In The Wild
As the coyote’s natural habitat is diminishing, so is its food supply. When they live in large, uninhabited areas of land, their normal diet consists of cottontails, squirrels and other rodents. Hunting as a team, with several members of one family working together, coyotes can kill larger animals as well. Deer have been reported to have fallen prey to a group of coyote, although team work with more than two coyotes hunting together is not frequent. If a hungry coyote comes upon a snake, the snake may become the next coyote meal. With diminishing hunting grounds, there is a diminished food supply. The coyote is forced to look toward human-inhabited areas if it wants to survive.
People Feeding Wildlife
To many people, wild animals are cute and perhaps exotic. With kind hearts they think they are helping nature when they leave food out for wild creatures. This is a very bad idea on several accounts. Some people may think they are doing a humane service if they leave food out for animals. The temptation is especially strong if the animals roaming in their backyard at night resemble their beloved family dog, like the coyote.
No matter how cute or tame a wild animal looks, it is wise to remember the definition of wild: not domesticated, untamed, feral, and savage. By feeding them, you invite harm to yourself and anyone else in your vicinity. Although coyotes do not have a reputation for biting humans, they have done so. If a child crosses a hungry coyote, the child could be in grave danger of being mauled or worse. Lastly, feeding wild animals encourages the behavior of coming to your property, expecting food. If your pet happens to be outside at that time, the coyote cannot distinguish between a bowl of dog food and a living offering, especially since the coyote is a carnivore. Don’t feed wild animals intentionally or unintentionally when leaving pet food outside.
Adapting To Survive
In their quest to survive, coyotes were forced to either adapt or die. Their survival instinct drove them closer to homes and businesses. They are seen in large cities where they rummage in garbage cans and dumps for scraps of food. One coyote had been spotted on a runway of an international airport. They often live in parks where they love to make their home in burrows they dig themselves. However, if they find a badger or groundhog burrow already made, they prefer to move into that.
Dangers Of Coyote And Man Encounters
Coyotes, like many wild animals, are carriers of rabies and as with a rabid dog, you should keep your distance and report the animal immediately if it displays odd behavior. The best thing is to avoid a confrontation with a coyote, if at all possible. Since they have the predatory instinct, they cannot help but chase after whatever is running. Therefore, when you meet face-to-face with this critter, back away from it slowly. The more noise you can make the better. They are by nature shy and do not like to be surrounded by lots of light or noise. If you are walking in a park and happen upon a coyote, be prepared with a whistle and perhaps a pocket full of rocks you can throw in its direction. If you have a dog with you, the same rules apply. Keep your dog on a leash while you blow and throw.
Not Everything Coyotes Do Is Bad For Humans
One reason why coyotes are thriving in some cities is because food is plentiful. Aside from the trash they find in garbage cans, coyotes find plenty of meals in the local rodent population. They are doing a great service in keeping the rodents in check. Rodents, especially rats and mice, can carry a number of diseases and bacteria to humans in their urine and droppings. It takes quite a number of rats and mice to feed a coyote family, which is helpful to urban sanitation conditions.